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23:1  TRULY, to a happy state shall attain the believers
23:2  those who humble themselves in their prayer
23:3  and who turn away from all that is frivolous
23:4  and who are intent on inner purity
23:5  and who are mindful of their chastity
23:6  [not giving way to their desires] with any but their spouses - that is, those whom they rightfully possess [through wedlock]: for then, behold, they are free of all blame
23:7  whereas such as seek to go beyond that [limit] are truly transgressors
23:8  and who are faithful to their trusts and to their pledges
23:9  and who guard their prayers [from all worldly intent]
23:10  It is they, they who shall be the inheritor
23:11  that will inherit the paradise; [and] therein shall they abide
23:12  NOW, INDEED, We create man out of the essence of clay
23:13  and then We cause him to remain as a drop of sperm in [the wombs] firm keeping
23:14  and then We create out of the drop of sperm a germ-cell, and then We create out of the germ-cell an embryonic lump, and then We create within the embryonic lump bones, and then We clothe the bones with flesh - and then We bring [all] this into being as a new creation: hallowed, therefore, is God, the best of artisans
23:15  And then, behold! after all this, you are destined to die
23:16  and then, behold! you shall be raised from the dead on Resurrection Day
23:17  And, indeed, We have created above you seven [celestial] orbits: and never are We unmindful of [any aspect of Our] creation
23:18  And We send down water from the skies in accordance with a measure [set by Us], and then We cause it to lodge in the earth: but, behold, We are most certainly able to withdraw this [blessing]
23:19  And by means of this [water] We bring forth for you gardens of date-palms and vines, wherein you have fruit abundant and whereof you eat
23:20  as well as a tree that issues from [the lands adjoining] Mount Sinai, yielding oil and relish for all to eat
23:21  And, behold, in the cattle [too] there is indeed a lesson for you: We give you to drink of that [milk] which is within their bellies; and you derive many [other] uses from them: for, you eat of their flesh
23:22  and by them - as by the ships [over the sea] - you are borne [overland]
23:23  AND, INDEED, We sent forth Noah unto his people and he said: “O my people! Worship God alone]: you have no deity other than Him. Will you not, then, become conscious of Him?”
23:24  But the great ones among his people, who refused to acknowledge the truth, replied: “This [man] is nothing but a mortal like yourselves who wants to make himself superior to you! For, if God had willed [to convey a message unto us], He would surely have sent down angels; [moreover,] we have never heard [anything like] this from our forebears of old
23:25  He is nothing but a madman: so bear with him for a while.”
23:26  Said [Noah]: “O my Sustainer! Succour me against their accusation of lying!”
23:27  Thereupon We inspired him thus: “Build, under Our eyes and according to Our inspiration, the ark [that shall save thee and those who follow thee]. And when Our judgment comes to pass, and waters gush forth in torrents over the face of the earth, place on board of this [ark] one pair of each [kind of animal] of either sex, as well as thy family - excepting those on whom sentence has already been passed; and do not appeal to Me [any more] in behalf of those who are bent on evildoing - for, behold, they are destined to be drowned
23:28  “And as soon as thou and those who are with thee are settled in the ark, say: ‘All praise is due to God, who has saved us from those evildoing folk!’
23:29  “And say: ‘O my Sustainer! Cause me to reach a destination blessed [by Thee] for Thou art the best to show man how to reach his [true] destination!’&rdquo
23:30  In this [story], behold, there are messages indeed [for those who think]: for, verily, We always put [man] to a test
23:31  AND AFTER those [people of old] We gave rise to new generations
23:32  and [every time] We sent unto them an apostle from among themselves, [he told them:] “Worship God [alone]: you have no deity other than Him. Will you not, then, become conscious of Him?”
23:33  And [every time] the great ones among his people, who refused to acknowledge the truth and gave the lie to the announcement of a life to come - [simply] because We had granted them ease and plenty in [their] worldly life, and they had become corrupted by it [every time] they would say: “This [man] is nothing hut a mortal like yourselves, eating of what you eat, and drinking of what you drink
23:34  and, indeed, if you pay heed to a mortal like yourselves, you will surely be the losers
23:35  Does he promise you that, after you have died and become [mere] dust and bones, you shall be brought forth [to a new life]
23:36  Far-fetched, far-fetched indeed is what you are promised
23:37  There is no life beyond our life in this world: we die and we live [but once], and we shall never be raised from the dead
23:38  He is nothing but a man who attributes his own lying inventions to God, and we are not going to believe him!”
23:39  [Whereupon the prophet] would say: “O my Sustainer! Succour me against their accusation of lying!”
23:40  [And God] would say: “After a little while they will surely be smitten with remorse!”
23:41  And then the blast [of Our punishment] overtook them, justly and unavoidably, and We caused them to become as the flotsam of dead leaves and the scum borne on the surface of a torrent: and so - away with those evildoing folk
23:42  AND AFTER them We gave rise to new generations
23:43  [for,] no community can ever forestall [the end of] its term - and neither can they delay [its coming]
23:44  And We sent forth Our apostles, one after another: [and] every time their apostle came to a community, they gave him the lie: and so We caused them to follow one another [into the grave], and let them become [mere] tales: and so - away with the folk who would not believe
23:45  AND THEN We sent forth Moses and his brother Aaron with Our messages and a manifest authority [from Us]
23:46  unto Pharaoh and his great ones; but these behaved with arrogance, for they were people wont to glorify [only] themselves
23:47  And so they said: “Shall we believe [them] two mortals like ourselves - although their people are our slaves?”
23:48  Thus, they gave the lie to those two, and earned (thereby) their place among the doomed
23:49  for, indeed, We had vouchsafed revelation unto Moses in order that they might find the right way
23:50  And [as We exalted Moses, so, too,] We made the son of Mary and his mother a symbol [of Our grace], and provided for both an abode in a lofty place of lasting restfulness and unsullied springs
23:51  O YOU APOSTLES! Partake of the good things of life, and do righteous deeds: verily, I have full knowledge of all that you do
23:52  And, verily, this community of yours is one single community, since I am the Sustainer of you all: remain, then, conscious of Me
23:53  But they (who claim to follow you) have torn their unity wide asunder, piece by piece, each group delighting in [but] what they themselves possess [by way of tenets]
23:54  But leave them alone, lost in their ignorance, until a [future] time
23:55  Do they think that by all the wealth and offspring with which We provide the
23:56  We [but want to] make them vie with one another in doing [what they consider] good works? Nay, but they do not perceive [their error]
23:57  Verily, [only] they who stand in reverent awe of their Sustainer
23:58  and who believe in their Sustainer’s messages
23:59  and who do not ascribe divinity to aught but their Sustainer
23:60  and who give whatever they [have to] give with their hearts trembling at the thought that unto their Sustainer they must return
23:61  it is they who vie with one another in doing good works, and it is they who outrun [all others] in attaining to them
23:62  And [withal.] We do not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear: for with Us is a record that speaks the truth [about what men do and can do]; and none shall be wronged
23:63  NAY, [as for those who have torn asunder the unity of faith] - their hearts are lost in ignorance of all this! But apart from that [breach of unity] they have [on their conscience even worse] deeds; and they will [continue to] commit the
23:64  until - after We shall have taken to task, through suffering, those from among them who [now] are lost in the pursuit of pleasures - they cry out in [belated] supplication
23:65  [But they will be told:] “Cry not in supplication today: for, behold, you shall not he succoured by Us
23:66  Time and again were My messages conveyed unto you, but [every time] you would turn about on your heel
23:67  [and,] impelled by your arrogance, you would talk senselessly far into the night.”
23:68  Have they, then, never tried to understand this word [of God]? Or has there [now] come to them something that never came to their forefathers of old
23:69  Or is it, perchance, that they have not recognized their Apostle, and so they disavow him
23:70  Or do they say. “There is madness in him”? Nay, he has brought them the truth - and the truth do most of them detest
23:71  But if the truth were in accord with their own likes and dislikes, the heavens and the earth would surely have fallen into ruin, and all that lives in them [would long ago have perished]! Nay, [in this divine writ] We have conveyed unto them all that they ought to bear in mind: and from this their reminder they [heedlessly] turn away
23:72  Or dost thou [O Muhammad] ask of them any worldly recompense? But [they ought to know that] recompense from thy Sustainer is best, since He is the best of providers
23:73  And, verily, thou callest them onto a straight way –
23:74  but, behold, those who will not believe in the life to come are bound to deviate from that way
23:75  And even were We to show them mercy and remove whatever distress might befall them [in this life], they would still persist in their overweening arrogance, blindly stumbling to and fro
23:76  And, indeed, We tested them through suffering, but they did not abase themselves before their Sustainer; and they will never humble themselve
23:77  until We open before them a gate of [truly] severe suffering [in the life to come]: and then, lo! they will be broken in spirit
23:78  [O MEN! Pay heed to God’s messages,] for it is He who has endowed you with hearing, and sight, and minds: [yet] how seldom are you grateful
23:79  And He it is who has caused you to multiply on earth; and unto Him you shall be gathered
23:80  And He it is who grants life and deals death; and to Him is due the alternation of night and day. Will you not, then, use your reason
23:81  But nay, they speak as the people of olden times did speak
23:82  they say: “What! After we have died and become mere dust and bones, shall we, forsooth, be raised from the dead
23:83  Indeed, this [very thing] we have been promised - we and our forefathers - long ago! This is nothing but fables of ancient times!”
23:84  Say: “Unto whom belongs the earth and all that lives there on? [Tell me this] if you happen to know [the answer]!&rdquo
23:85  [And they will reply: “Unto God.” Say: “Will you not, then, bethink yourselves [of Him]?&rdquo
23:86  Say: “Who is it that sustains the seven heavens and is enthroned in His awesome almightiness?”
23:87  [And] they will reply: “[All this power belongs] to God.” Say: “Will you not, then, remain conscious of Him?”
23:88  Say: “In whose hand rests the mighty dominion over all things, and who is it that protects, the while there is no protection against Him? [Tell me this] if you happen to know [the answer]!&rdquo
23:89  [And] they will reply: “[All this power belongs] to God.” Say: ‘How, then, can you be so deluded?”
23:90  Nay, We have conveyed unto them the truth: and yet, behold, they are intent on lying [to themselves]
23:91  Never did God take unto Himself any offspring, nor has there ever been any deity side by side with Him: [for, had there been any,] lo! each deity would surely have stood apart [from the others] in whatever it had created, and they would surely have [tried to] overcome one another! Limitless in His glory is God, [far] above anything that men may devise by way of definition
23:92  knowing all that is beyond the reach of a created being’s perception as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature’s senses or mind and, hence, sublimely exalted is He above anything to which they may ascribe a share in His divinity
23:93  SAY: “O my Sustainer! If it be Thy will to let me witness [the fulfillment of] whatever they [who blaspheme against Thee] have been promised [to suffer] –
23:94  do not, O my Sustainer, let me be one of those evildoing folk!”
23:95  [Pray thus] for, behold, We are most certainly able to let thee witness [the fulfillment, even in this world, of] whatever We promise them
23:96  [But whatever they may say or do,] repel the evil [which they commit] with something that is better: We are fully aware of what they attribute [to Us]
23:97  And say: “O my Sustainer! I seek refuge with Thee from the promptings of all evil impulses
23:98  and I seek refuge with Thee, O my Sustainer, lest they come near unto me!’
23:99  [AS FOR THOSE who will not believe in the life to come, they go on lying to themselves] until, when death approaches any of them, he prays: “O my Sustainer! Let me return, let me return [to life]
23:100  so that I might act righteously in whatever I have failed [aforetime]!” Nay, it is indeed but a [meaningless] word that he utters: for behind those [who leave the world] there is a barrier [of death] until the Day when all will be raised from the dead
23:101  Then, when the trumpet [of resurrection] is blown, no ties of kinship will on that Day prevail among them, and neither will they ask about one another
23:102  And they whose weight [of righteousness] is heavy in the balance - it is they, they who will have attained to a happy state
23:103  whereas they whose weight is light in the balance - it is they who will have squandered their own selves, [destined] to abide in hell
23:104  the fire will scorch their faces, and they will abide therein with their lips distorted in pain
23:105  [And God will say:] “Were not My messages conveyed unto you, and were you [not] wont to give them the lie?”
23:106  They will exclaim: “O our Sustainer! Our bad luck has overwhelmed us, and so we went astray
23:107  O our Sustainer! Cause us to come out of this [suffering] - and then, if ever We revert [to sinning], may we truly be [deemed] evildoers!”
23:108  [But] He will say: “Away with you into this [ignominy]! And speak no more unto Me
23:109  “Behold, there were among My servants such as would pray, ‘O our Sustainer! We have come to believe [in Thee]; forgive, then, our sins and bestow Thy mercy on us: for Thou art the truest bestower of mercy!’
23:110  - but you made them a target of your derision to the point where it made you forget all remembrance of Me; and you went on and on laughing at them
23:111  [But,] behold, today I have rewarded them for their patience in adversity: verily, it is they, they who have achieved a triumph!”
23:112  [And] He will ask [the doomed]: “What number of years have you spent on earth?”
23:113  They will answer: ‘We have spent there a day, or part of a day; but ask those who [are able to] count [time] …&rdquo
23:114  [Whereupon] He will say: “You have spent there but a short while: had you but known [how short it was to be]
23:115  Did you, then, think that We created you in mere idle play, and that you would not have to return to Us?”
23:116  [KNOW,] then, [that] God is sublimely exalted, the Ultimate Sovereign, the Ultimate Truth: there is no deity save Him, the Sustainer, in bountiful almightiness enthroned
23:117  Hence, he who invokes, side by side with God, any other deity [- a deity] for whose existence he has no evidence - shall but find his reckoning with his Sustainer: [and,] verily, such deniers of the truth will never attain to a happy state
23:118  Hence, [O believer,] say: “O my Sustainer! Grant [me] forgiveness and bestow Thy mercy [upon me]: for Thou art the truest bestower of mercy!”